Investing.com - U.S. stocks finished Friday mixed after four
straight days of gains, as escalating tensions between Ukraine and
Russia offset an upbeat take on the U.S. economy from Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 fell 0.22%, the S&P
500 index fell 0.20%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose
The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for
market volatility, was down 2.47% at 11.47.
The overall economy and the labor market are improving though
the Fed will still take its time raising interest rates, markets
concluded Friday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen addressed the Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Jackson Hole symposium.
"More jobs have now been created in the recovery than were lost
in the downturn, with payroll employment in May of this year
finally exceeding the previous peak in January 2008. Job gains in
2014 have averaged 230,000 a month, up from the 190,000 a month
pace during the preceding two years," Yellen said in prepared
remarks of her speech.
"The unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent in July, has declined
nearly 4 percentage points from its late 2009 peak. Over the past
year, the unemployment rate has fallen considerably, and at a
surprisingly rapid pace."
Yellen's comments drew applause on Wall Street, as her speech
also suggested that the Fed will still take its time raising
interest rates to avoid disrupting recovery.
"Underutilization of labor resources still remains significant,"
"Given this assessment and the Committee's expectation that
inflation will gradually move up toward its longer-run objective,
the Committee reaffirmed its view 'that it likely will be
appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal
funds rate for a considerable time after our current asset purchase
program ends, especially if projected inflation continues to run
below the Committee's 2 percent longer-run goal, and provided that
longer-term inflation expectations remain well anchored.'"
Geopolitical concerns sparked profit taking, especially
considering U.S. equities indices have posted solid gains over the
past four days.
Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a "direct
invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks
across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are
fighting government forces.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Merck
& Company Inc (NYSE:MRK), up 0.54%, Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), up
0.45%, and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), up 0.33%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included
General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), down 1.08%, Johnson &
Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), down 1.05%, and Cisco Systems Inc
(NASDAQ:CSCO), down 0.98%.
European indices, meanwhile, ended the day lower.
After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 fell
0.81%, France's CAC 40 fell 0.93%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.66%.
Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 0.04%.
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